Blended Brazilian / Norwegian combo, MELT MOTIF quietly (or, maybe not so) crept into my Top 10 List for 2022, A White Horse Will Take You Home’s otherworldliness and simple refusal to be beholden to any “scene” or single genre alluring from first listen. The debut got comfortable over repeated listens but, to this day, will occasionally reveal some previously-hidden glitch, beat or melody, the mark of a truly good album.
How, then, to top this? I have come to believe the often-documented “sophomore slump” – which also plagued GUNS ‘N’ ROSES after Appetite For Destruction – is at least in some part due to a conscious effort on the part of the band to come back harder/faster/”better”, especially in cases where the debut was of high caliber; to maybe expand on what made that album great to the point that things seem more scattered/disjointed, therefore losing the plot entirely.
‘Broken Floor’, true to its name, lurches in, keys and beats staggering and swaying, vocalist Rakel Greve’s cadence an almost percussive instrument in and of itself, as the song swings pendulum-like between frightening and flowing. After the more upbeat – but no less “easy listening” lyrically – ‘Full Moon’, ‘Warrior’ begins with a slow build, recalling 16-bit video game music until an ominous pattern collides with Greve’s voice, pops and clicks in the background, but also an impressive use of space and silence, a sparseness of sound which, strangely, gives the quietude room to become its own character in the journey.
‘Where I Want To Die’ interweaves a calliope-like organ and breakbeat rhythms, but works more as a sonic collage than actual song, a movement piece where the protagonist/listener is traveling to the next destination, but doesn’t suffer for its brevity. ‘Never_Again’ is contemplative, yet resigned, enveloping, but one begins to see the layers of trauma or past deeds begin to peel back, cheesecloth-thin, and revealing a glimpse of a future with less regret or hopelessness. Conversely, ‘Chainsaw’ is from the other perspective, the lyrics “I am the one you will regret you ever met / I am the one you will try to your best to forget” and “You’re not prepared” either taunting or admitting the darkness in us all, depending on the listener’s outlook.
‘Fever’ draws Particles. Death Objective to its end, the most industrially-tinged piece here, echoing, near-incantational vocals, a summoning, an ache for release in any form – or at least that’s how it’s heard by these ears. And that’s the beauty of what MELT MOTIF is doing; not attempting to surmount past achievements. Simply being what it is speaking for and in this moment only. I don’t know what the future holds for this project, but I’m there for it.
Review By: Lord Randall
Particles. Death Objective